The Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship’s James Madison University Bluestone Seed Fund is winding up its first year of investments with the addition of two alumni-led firms to the portfolio. A total of $30,000 has been invested in seven startup enterprises.
Among those who will benefit from the spring investment are:
Art & Design by Maddy Ebbert
Maddy Ebbert (JMU ’19) is a digital artist who makes sustainable, accessible everyday products. Mindful Goods will be her first store in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mindful Goods is a Charlotte-based eco-friendly, women-owned retail company that sells refillable bulk products, gifts, home decor, art, housewares, and more. She chooses ethically created and sustainably sourced products with care so that people can easily make ethical purchasing decisions and contribute to a low-waste economy.
Pantry of the United States
On college and university campuses across the country, the stigma of food insecurity is real. That’s why Isaac Smith (JMU ’20) started United Pantry and developed an app that allows students to check out what’s available in their school’s pantry from the comfort of their dorm room, place an order, and arrange curbside or in-person pickup. The student remains anonymous because the software generates a random ID and does not collect any identifiable information. United Pantry also built an administration website for the pantry to help with inventory management and integration with the app. JMU launched the app and website in October 2021, with hopes to expand to additional colleges and universities.
The Bluestone Seed Fund is a donor-backed investment fund that invests in JMU-affiliated firms while simultaneously offering JMU students with hands-on venture investing experience through the Student Venture Associates program. The program is the university’s first of its type.